Chronology 16 August - 15 November 2010
Abstract: 

16 August–15 November 2010
16 AUGUST
          As the quarter opens, Israel has eased (as of 6/2010) its blockade on Gaza, replacing the blanket ban on imports with two lists of prohibited and regulated items, allowing in more (and more varied) food items, construction materials, and commercial goods, but keeping imports only slightly above subsistence and continuing to bar exports. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) enforces a 300-meter-deep no-go zone inside the full length of the Gaza border and limits the Palestinian fishing zone off Gaza to 500–1,000 m off the immediate Bayt Lahiya (northern) and Rafah (southern) coasts, and 3 nautical miles elsewhere—placing 17% of Gaza’s total landmass, including 35% of its viable agricultural areas, and 85% of the maritime areas allocated under the Oslo accords off-limits to Palestinians. In the West Bank, Israel’s easing of restrictions on Palestinian movement between major population centers (which began in summer 2009) continues, and IDF operations are relatively few. Today, IDF troops on the s. Gaza border e. of Khan Yunis fire on a group of Islamic Jihad mbrs. burying explosive devices nr. the border fence, killing 1 Islamic Jihad mbr.; the Palestinians return fire, lightly wounding 1 IDF soldier. Hrs. later, unidentified Palestinians fire 2 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in al-‘Arub refugee camp (r.c.) and 2 villages nr. Hebron. Jewish settlers fr. Shvut Rachel nr. Nablus uproot 100 nearby Palestinian olive trees. Israel’s Housing Min. approves construction of a new settler-only bypass road to link Ma’ale Adumim settlement e. of Jerusalem with the new E1 settlement area in East Jerusalem; explaining the decision, the Housing Min. states that “the decision to freeze construction in [West Bank settlements] does not include services for existing structures.” (JP, YA 8/16; NYT 8/17; PCHR 8/19; OCHA 8/20)
 
17 AUGUST
In the morning, members of the Palestinian Popular Resistance Comm. (PRCs), retaliating for the death of an Islamic Jihad mbr. on 8/16, fire 2 mortars across the s. Gaza border at IDF troops operating inside Israel, lightly injuring 2; the IDF returns fire but no injuries are reported. Late in the evening, the IDF responds with 6 air strikes targeting a deserted house near the c. Gaza border e. of Gaza Valley village (destroying it, a well, and damaging a nearby factory) and several smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border, causing no injuries. During the day, IDF troops make a brief incursion in to s. Gaza to level lands e. of Abassan to clear lines of sight; fire warning shots at Palestinians staging a nonviolent march to the Erez crossing to protest Israel’s imposition of a no-go zone along the border, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, Jewish settlers fr. Karnei Shomron settlement nr. Qalqilya stone passing Palestinian vehicles, causing no injuries. An Israeli court rules that Israel is responsible for the 1/2007 death of a 10-yr.-old Palestinian girl who was fatally shot by Israeli border police while observing a Palestinian demonstration from a distance; the border police alleged she was hit by a rock thrown by protesters, but the court finds that “there cannot be any dispute . . . that Abir was hit by a rubber bullet fired by border police, meaning the fire was conducted either due to negligence or violation of the rules of engagement.” (JP 8/17; AFP 8/18; PCHR 8/19; OCHA 8/20)

Lebanon passes a law granting the country’s approximately 400,000 Palestinian refugees the same rights to work as other foreigners and giving them access to social security benefits, easing decades of restrictions that had barred them from all but menial jobs. (NYT 8/18) (see Quarterly Update for details)
 
18 AUGUST
          In the West Bank, the IDF makes a late-night incursion into Issawiyya outside Jerusalem, taking over a hilltop and firing into the air; no casualties are reported. (PCHR 8/19, 8/26; OCHA 8/27)
 
19 AUGUST
          In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. (PCHR 8/26; OCHA 8/27)
 
20 AUGUST
          U.S. Secy. of State Hillary Clinton announces that the U.S. will host Palestinian Authority (PA) Pres. Mahmud Abbas and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on 9/2 for their 1st face-to-face peace negotiations since late 2008, with the U.S. believing a final status deal could be reached within a yr. The Quartet simultaneously issues a statement reiterating its endorsement of direct talks toward a final agreement that “ends the occupation which began in 1967” and results in the creation of a Palestinian state; calls on “both sides to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric.” Netanyahu's office quickly welcomes the proposal. (AP 8/20; NYT, WP 8/21) (see Quarterly Update for details)

Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists in some locations) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, al-Ma‘sara, and Dayr Nizam/Nabi Salih. IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters; 10s suffer tear gas inhalation, and 1 Norwegian activist is arrested. (PCHR 8/26; OCHA 8/27)
 
21 AUGUST

No Israeli-Palestinian violence is reported. (PCHR 8/26; OCHA 8/27)
 
22 AUGUST

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Bidya village nr. Salfit at midday and in Qalqilya and Rafat w. of Salfit in the evening without making any arrests; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya in the evening, nr. Ramallah late at night. Jewish settlers escorted by IDF troops enter Nablus to pray at Joseph’s Tomb. (PCHR 8/26; OCHA 8/27)
 
23 AUGUST
          Abbas accepts the 8/20 U.S. invitation to open direct talks with Israel in Washington on 9/2 but states that “If Israel resumes settlement activities in the Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, we cannot continue negotiations.” (NYT, WT 8/24) (see Quarterly Update for details)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Tubas. The IDF also forces 3 Palestinian families to demolish their homes in the Jerusalem suburb of Sur Bahir, displacing 21 individuals; Jewish settlers raid a Palestinian home nr. Tulkarm, hold the family hostage inside while they burn 5 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of agricultural land. (PCHR 8/26; OCHA 8/27)
 
24 AUGUST

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the fmr. Jewish settlement sites nr. the border, causing no injuries. IDF troops make a brief incursion into n. Gaza nr. Bayt Lahiya, patrolling the border area without incident. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Azun village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon without incident; sends undercover units in vehicles with Palestinian license plates into Bayt Umar village nr. Hebron, where they raid a home and arrest 1 Palestinian; conducts late-night house searches in Tulkarm and nr. Bethlehem and Salfit, arresting 1 Palestinian and summoning others for interrogation. (PCHR 8/26; OCHA 8/27)
 
25 AUGUST

Israel increases industrial fuel imports to Gaza, allowing Gaza’s electricity plant to run on 2 turbines instead of 1 for the first time since 2/2010, cutting rolling power outages across the Strip from 8–12 hrs./day to 4–6 hrs./day. Unidentified Palestinians fire a mortar fr. n. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Twice during the morning, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the fmr. Jewish settlement sites nr. the border, wounding 1. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Jenin, 1 village nr. Ramallah, 1 village nr. Salfit late at night without conducting searches or making arrests; conducts synchronized late-night arrest raids, house searches in 3 other villages nr. Ramallah. During the day in Ramallah, plainclothes PA security forces (PASF) and/or general intelligence officers break up a meeting of 200 Palestinian opposition figures convened to draft a statement protesting Abbas’s 8/23 decision to resume direct negotiations with Israel; uniformed PASF officers waiting outside the venue question the participants as they leave (see Quarterly Update for details). (AP, YA 8/25; PCHR 8/26; OCHA 8/27; HA 8/30; WT 9/1; PCHR 9/2; OCHA 9/3)
 
26 AUGUST
          In the West Bank, the IDF conducts patrols without incident in 3 villages nr. Tulkarm and 1 nr. Jericho during the day, and in 2 villages nr. Salfit and 1 nr. Qalqilya late at night. Jewish settlers attempt to break into al-‘Ayn Mosque in Silwan in East Jerusalem but are confronted by Palestinians and removed by Israeli security forces. (PCHR 9/2; OCHA 9/3)
 
27 AUGUST
          In the West Bank, the IDF conducts daytime patrols in Azun nr. Qalqilya and Taybeh nr. Ramallah without incident. Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists in some locations) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, al-Ma‘sara, and Dayr Nizam/Nabi Salih. IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters; 10s suffer tear gas inhalation, 6 Palestinians (including 1 journalist) and 1 American activist are injured, and 4 Palestinian paramedics and 2 Israeli activists are arrested (all are released the same day). Senior Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) officials take part in the Bil`in demonstration to commemorate the 9th anniversary of the assassination of PFLP Secy. Gen. Abu Ali Mustafa. Jewish settlers fr. Suissa settlement nr. Hebron stone and beat Palestinian shepherds grazing flocks nr. the settlement. (PCHR 9/2; OCHA 9/3)
 
28 AUGUST
          IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the fmr. Jewish settlement sites nr. the border, wounding 2 Palestinians and 2 donkeys. Late at night, the IDF sends troops into the no-go zone e. of Bureij r.c. in c. Gaza in pursuit of Islamic Jihad mbrs. operating near the border; the sides exchange fire and the IDF calls reinforcements and shells the area, lightly injuring 3 Islamic Jihad mbrs. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Haris village nr. Salfit in the afternoon, conducting no searches and making no arrests; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Qalqilya, Ramallah, and nr. Hebron. (PCHR 9/2; OCHA 9/3)
 
29 AUGUST
          In the West Bank, the IDF conducts daytime patrols in 2 villages nr. Salfit and late-night patrols in Azun nr. Qalqilya, conducting no searches and making no arrests. (PCHR 9/2; OCHA 9/3)
 
30 AUGUST
          In the West Bank, the IDF moves back into Azun village in the morning (see 8/29), raiding an auto repair shop and confiscating 6 cars with Israeli license plates; conducts afternoon patrols in 4 other villages nr. Qalqilya, 1 nr. Tulkarm, withdrawing without incident; conducts late-night patrols in Tulkarm, nearby Anabta, and Kafr al-Dik nr. Salfit, conducting no searches and making no arrests; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron. In Jerusalem, Israeli security forces raid the Wadi Hilwa quarter of Silwan, detaining 5 Palestinians for questioning, releasing all but 1 the same day. (PCHR 9/2; OCHA 9/3)
 
31 AUGUST
          Hamas’s military wing, the Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades (IQB), takes responsibility for shooting at a Jewish settler vehicle driving nr. Hebron (in area C, under full Israeli control, where the PASF is not allowed to operate), killing 4 Jewish settlers, including a pregnant woman, marking the deadliest West Bank attack on Israelis in more than 2 yrs. and the first staged by Hamas since before the 1/2006 elections. Both Abbas and Netanyahu say the attack should not derail peace talks. The YESHA settlement council vows to renew construction in West Bank settlements immediately, before the temporary freeze ends, to demonstrate Israelis’ “resolve against terrorism.” Following the attack and throughout the night, the IDF seals the entrances to Hebron, Halhul, and al-Fawar r.c. and imposes a curfew on nearby Bani Na`im village, raiding and searching homes and detaining Palestinians with suspected connections to Hamas. Meanwhile, Jewish settlers implementing their “price-tag” doctrine to punish Palestinians for any state acts against settlers, beat Palestinian farmers working their land nr. Emanuel settlement nr. Salfit and stone Palestinian vehicles traveling on the Nablus–Qalqilya road (2 separate incidents) as well as on a road bypassing Yitzhar settlement nr. Nablus. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba in Hebron attempt to break into a nearby Palestinian home but are prevented by the IDF. Late at night, the IDF patrols 2 villages nr. Salfit; no incidents are reported. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that in the previous wk. 3 Palestinians were killed in 2 separate tunnel collapses on the Rafah border. (NYT, WP, WT 9/1; PCHR 9/2; OCHA 9/3)

 

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